But the goal of the “Tri-Gig High Speed” initiative is to offer a broadband infrastructure that is as affordable as possible and will meet the technological needs of businesses, public and educational institutions, and local residents, said Jane Nickles, chief information officer for the city of Greensboro. The Triad is one of several regions across the country striving to offer high-speed gigabit Internet access as a way to attract and retain businesses.“This is really an economic development initiative,” Nickles said. “Businesses are going to want to locate where they can get the high-speed broadband access and where their employees can get it because it opens up those possibilities of things that can be done outside of the office and done from home.”
Nickles’ comments illustrate the very important role of telecommunications infrastructure in the 21st century. It’s as critical to the 21st century economy as transportation infrastructure was to the previous one. Particularly as performing knowledge work — centralized in metro centers in the 20th century — becomes decentralized and often performed outside the centralized commuter office and at home as Nickles notes. An added benefit is reduced transportation demand at the same time much of the transportation infrastructure is aging and in need of major overhaul.